Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Type




Director of Thesis

Dr. Kimberly Simmons

Second Reader

Dr. Elaine Chun


Structural racism in the United States affects racial and ethnic minorities in many areas of life. The Black community, specifically, faces the highest risk of police violence and brutality. In particular, this paper explores the ways in which adverse police violence experiences affect Black women. Black women often face marginalization in movements for racial justice and gender equality, so this paper investigates the intersectionality of how Black women experience police violence. They often face overlapping forms of discrimination and racialized gender violence at the hands of police. The negative ways in which Black women are stereotyped are discussed to further highlight how their perpetrators of police violence “justify” their actions and often have impunity. The role of institutions is examined to demonstrate their role in promoting racial hierarchies and white supremacy and to further illustrate how police violence and racism are not individual, micro-level issues. This thesis heavily utilizes literature published on the subjects discussed and draws on literature from legal, anthropological, and public health perspectives.

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